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Afilias Strengthens Sunrise Policies to Ferret Out Phony Registrants

New policies take effect today to eliminate improper Sunrise registrations

NEWTOWN, PA - 6 December, 2001 - Afilias announced today that it has strengthened its Sunrise policies and challenge process to ensure the effectiveness of the Sunrise registration system which was designed to protect intellectual property in the rollout of the new .INFO top-level domain. These include revisions to the existing Sunrise Challenge policy as well as additional policy enhancements.

"Afilias is eager to ensure that the Sunrise registration process is an effective test bed from which to learn how intellectual property can be adequately protected during the rollout of a new top-level domain," said Hal Lubsen, Afilias' Chief Executive Officer. "With some strategic enhancements to our policies we believe we will be able to clear the .INFO domain of Sunrise registrations that were improperly submitted."

First, Afilias will strengthen its Sunrise Challenge policy by requiring anyone wanting to register a successfully challenged Sunrise name to produce proof of their valid trademark. This policy change, which was posted two weeks ago and became effective today, was made in accordance with Afilias' agreement with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the manager of the expedited dispute process for .INFO.

Second, Afilias will also offer registrars the ability to correct some WHOIS data and request deletions of domain names. Afilias' initial Sunrise policy required all registrants who participated in the Sunrise registration period to have a valid trademark of national effect prior to October 2, 2000 and submit the corresponding information at registration. As a tool to battle cybersquatters who resell names quickly, Afilias locked these registrations for 180 days to both secure the data and ensure that no domains avoided scrutiny under the subsequent challenge process.

The ability to correct and delete records will be facilitated through the introduction of two databases that will parallel the existing WHOIS directory of .INFO names. One of the new databases will now allow registrars to correct certain contact and trademark information that was incorrectly submitted. The other will allow registrants whose domains may have been improperly submitted during the Sunrise process to request that their domain names be deleted. Registrars will be able to submit these changes on behalf of Sunrise registrants.

In August of this year, Afilias also announced it would exercise its rights under the Sunrise Challenge process and submit a bulk challenge against remaining Sunrise names that appear to be facially invalid. The introduction of these auxiliary databases strengthens Afilias' ability to submit this bulk challenge by narrowing the number of names that it will need to consider. Afilias will release a list of names being considered prior to issuing its bulk challenge. Names that are successfully canceled as a result of Afilias' bulk challenge, as well as requested deletions and other names that may have been canceled due to challenge proceedings but that have not been registered, will be returned to public availability in early 2002.

Registrants interested in updating their data or requesting to delete names are urged to contact their Afilias-authorized registrar as soon as possible. Those interested in challenging names registered during the Sunrise Period may do so with WIPO until December 26, 2001.